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Soldering a wide band ring

So I was working with 18 gauge, 11 1/2 mm wide band. The ring is a cigar band shape. I soldered the band closed with hard solder, From the inside, checking to make sure my solder came all the way through to the outside of the band. I fabricated the ring, setting one large stone and one small stone, tumbled and polished it. I also saw it on quite a few gold balls around the stones. I wore it for about a week, and one day I felt something weird and looked down and the band had become unsoldered in the back. I’ve had problems with other wide bands coming apart, but usually when I am shaping the band or setting the stones. What am I doing wrong?

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In my experience it always comes back to cleanliness of the joint, fit, and heat.

I pickle the piece, warm it, dry it, a quick hit with the file to shine up the joining surfaces.

I push the joints together and look close at the meeting. The surface really have to be a tight, close fit.

I pick up the ring and dip it in the flux and set it back down on the brick. Warm it with the torch.

SOMETIMES I set the joint on a piece of solder and draw the solder through the joint. And sometimes I set the ring down with the joint facing up and draw the solder through the joint from the inside. The heavier the ring the more likely I am to solder it from the inside out.

Heating from the opposite side of the ring from the joint will force the joint tighter because of expansion due to heat.

And sometimes those joints fail.

The problem can be anywhere, in the pickle, do you clean your solder?, Too hot and too close will heat the surface enough to flow the solder but the inside will be cool enough so the solder won’t flow through.

Rob and I have discussed a phenomena where we seem to suddenly forget how to solder anything. This happens to me about twice a year. That’s the day I completely clean the shop. Replace my bricks, I use hard cheap bricks, sand and polish solder picks,

Kind of disjointed in my reply but I am working on building a website. Not my strong suit by any means. Let us know how you make out.

Don Meixner

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As I take the pictures to share with you it looks like a tiny piece of the hard Solder did not melt properly. I was using chip solder and really thought that I used enough. Also the band was even after I had sanded it[quote=“cbutchko11, post:1, topic:61066, full:true”]
So I was working with 18 gauge, 11 1/2 mm wide band. The ring is a cigar band shape. I soldered the band closed with hard solder, From the inside, checking to make sure my solder came all the way through to the outside of the band. I fabricated the ring, setting one large stone and one small stone, tumbled and polished it. I also saw it on quite a few gold balls around the stones. I wore it for about a week, and one day I felt something weird and looked down and the band had become unsoldered in the back. I’ve had problems with other wide bands coming apart, but usually when I am shaping the band or setting the stones. What am I doing wrong?
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HeyDon, thank you, you have come to my rescue more than once. After reading your reply I think my problem is hitting the join too hot and like you say not having my metal hot all the way through. Going forward I will make sure I hit the entire ring for quite a while with a low flame before I go in for the Solder. Thanks again, Christina

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Hi
When you first soldered the seam with hard solder And you saw the join completely filled then you said you soldered the two bezels on. Did you do that with medium solder? If not you may have weakened the seam.

Christina,

I like the gold granulation. It is a look I use frequently. Not granulation strictly speaking I suppose but a great look. As I look at your photo I think you would benefit by squaring up the joint a little more. I can count on one hand the number of stones I have set in 30 years but I know the work involved to unset them is epic. Can you Kool Jool the stones enough to allow you to solder this with the stones in place? This is a Kilt pin, one of my few set stone pieces before I rolled over the bezel and finished the piece.

Don

Hi Marianne, thanks for weighing in. Yes I did solder the bezels with medium Solder. Also solder gold accents on using easy. When I’ve had solder joints fail in the past, They usually fail when I’m shaping the rain or setting the cabochons or faceted stones. I was really perplexed when the solder came apart after wearing the ring for a few days. I appreciate your help, Christina

Hi, if I enlarge your image, I can see that the edges of your join are not square. The long edges are slightly curved So the metal does not meet well at the sides of the ring. Also I notice that The flat faces, which should butt together, are not actually flatly facing one another.

I think you need to work on those edges to ensure a close and flush fit. Solder doesn’t like to bridge gaps.

I hope this observation helps along with others’ suggestions about the soldering.

Looks to me like it was a cold solder. Hard solder can be brittle if not heated properly, not only to flow but to get its structure fully melted and then let cool down without quenching too quickly. Reheating the joint afterward can help.

Hard solder can be brittle at times. The chip you are referring to may be a hollow “skull”: a remnant of alloy left behind with hard solder sometimes.

Please excuse any typos-- curse my clumsy digits…

So many useful replies here. Thank you for posting your dilemna because it has been helpful to me.

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Thank you, I didn’t realize that about hard solder, heat more slowly and wait to quench in the future. I appreciate the advice